Mobile growth to come from developing nations, operators predict

21 Jun 2006

Future growth in the mobile telephone business will come from developing economies whose less than affluent consumers cannot be overlooked, industry players, quoted in an AFP report, said.

The AFP report, citing executives at the ongoing CommunicAsia 2006, said income levels of consumers in the world's poorer nations may not come anywhere near their wealthy counterparts but they offer far better growth prospects for the sector as a whole.

'Growth in the mobile industry isn't going to be coming from the guys in the crowd here wearing coats and ties,' Andrew Buay, COO of Globe Telecom, a telecommunications operator from the Philippines, was quoted as saying.

Industry research estimates there are 2.2 billion mobile subscribers globally, a figure expected to rise to three billion by the end of 2008, the report said.

Asian countries that fall into the high growth category include Pakistan, Indonesia, China, India and the Philippines, where rural areas remain largely untapped, industry players said.

'Pakistan is one of the fastest growing markets. It's a huge market,' Mubashir Naqvi, VP for commercial operations at Ufone, a telecom operator which began service in 2001, was also quoted as saying.

Naqvi said an estimated 95.5 million potential consumers in Pakistan remain untapped despite the presence of six mobile operators in the country.

Globe Telecom's success in the Philippines, where it is one of the leading mobile providers, demonstrated clearly there are opportunities even in the developing markets with average revenue per user of $5 to $6, the AFP report said.

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